My Name is Blessing

by Eric Walters

Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard --love doesn't feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka's physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.

Eric Walters Author Biography

It all began in 1993 when Eric was teaching a Grade 5 class. His students were reluctant readers and writers and Eric began to write to encourage them to become more involved in literature. His first novel, Stand Your Ground, was created for this class. It is set in the school where Eric was teaching, Vista Heights Public School, and some of the features of the community of Streetsville, Ontario and many of the names of his students were incorporated into the story.

Since his first novel Eric has literally exploded on the children’s and young adult scene. Over the following years he has published over 80 more novels and picture books with more than ten scheduled for the coming years.

Eugenie Fernandes Illustrator Biography

My world is yellow and blue and green. I grew up on the beach. I painted with my father — comic-book illustrator Creig Flessel. We made up stories sitting on the front porch. Birds flew down from the sky and sat on my shoulder. Cats purred. Frogs hopped. I have always lived on islands ... a house on Long Island, an apartment on Manhattan Island, a thatch hut on an island in the middle of the South Pacific, and now ... I live and work in a little house ... on a little island ... in a little lake in southern Ontario. Summer and winter ... starting at the crack of dawn, I paint every day.

Sometimes, I write stories. Sometimes, I sell the stories. Then I paint again ... I paint my stories ... I paint other people’s stories. Sometimes, I paint paintings for myself ... abstract paintings ... big ... free ... Sunshine fills my studio. I am surrounded by water and birds and trees. My world is yellow and blue and green.

Eugenie graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She lives near Peterborough, Ontario.